Self-promotion plays an essential role in career advancement, yet small business owners often feel uncomfortable boasting publicly about their skills and accomplishments. For many entrepreneurs, it’s easier to sit back and wait for others to recognize their hard work.
Media executive and business coach Lisa Bragg has plenty of experience when it comes to tapping into the power of self-promotion. As the CEO and founder of award-winning content marketing and consulting firm Mediaface, Bragg specializes in helping professionals and business owners develop their brand through storytelling to connect with customers and drive results.
In her former career as a TV news journalist, Bragg sought out experienced professionals and business owners to interview. She was surprised to find so many were camera shy.
“Being a journalist, I would probe further as to why these individuals were hesitant to be labelled an expert,” recalls Bragg. “I convinced many individuals to go on camera and then coached them through the whole process. It made for great stories.”
Today, Bragg provides entrepreneurs and executives with the tools they need to become self-assured thought leaders. Through her workshops, courses, and counselling sessions, she helps people become more confident when talking about their expertise and successes, whether that’s on camera, online, or in front of clients and colleagues.
“Many of us were taught the ‘good girl’ syndrome, and I’m sure some boys experience it, too,” Bragg explains. “I was conditioned to put my head down, get good grades, be quiet, and eventually, someone will pick me.” And while this approach might lead to success in the classroom, it can have detrimental consequences in the workplace.
Job interviews, salary negotiations, and new business development all require professionals to share their talents and capabilities directly with others. True to her name, Bragg strongly believes in the importance of “bragging” in business. “You can’t be humble at a boardroom table,” she says. “Playing small limits your chance of getting the next promotion, new clients, the right sponsor, or growing into international markets.”
If you cringe at the idea of unabashed self-promotion, Bragg offers these brand-building strategies to help business owners show off their strengths and accomplishments.
- Reframe the narrative
Self-promotion isn’t egotistical, it’s about positioning yourself as a thought-leader in your field. When you talk openly about your skills and successes, you’re signalling to others how you can serve them. Showcasing your expertise will illustrate the unique value you can provide to your clients, colleagues, and community.
- Communicate your unique strengths
Have a few signature stories that illustrate your experience and tell those same stories over and over again at job interviews, networking events and other professional settings. It’s okay if you feel like you’re on repeat. If you ever watch a celebrity interview over a few networks, they often say the same key talking points over and over again.
- Don’t go wide, go deep
Focus on your niche area of expertise and join communities where people can guide you to the next level. You don’t need an enormous social media following. Networking online and in person is all about making connections and taking action; it might only take one person to unlock new opportunities for you.
- Seek recognition
Here’s a secret; many people who win awards nominated themselves. Go for it! Take the time to nominate yourself or your business for industry prizes, grants, public-speaking engagements, and other accolades that will generate buzz for your brand.
As an entrepreneur, self-promotion is crucial to your business success. There’s no shame in highlighting the unique value you bring to your customers, and telling those stories should be part of your day-to-day marketing strategy. Don’t be afraid to show off your hard-work, tout your talents, and leverage the power of branding to create new opportunities on a professional and personal level.